Ben Zobrist’s estranged wife, Julianna Zobrist, says the former Chicago Cubs utility man was “guilty of failing to preserve marital assets” when he took a leave of absence from the team in May 2019, so she will ask a judge to award her an additional $4 million when those assets are divided during next month’s divorce trial, according to pretrial documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune.
“In 2019, he had a contract with the Chicago Cubs for ($12 million), but since he only played for 2 months, his salary was prorated and he only earned ($4.5 million) of the ($12 million) he could have earned,” according to the memorandum filed July 14 in Williamson County, Tenn., by Julianna Zobrist’s attorney, Marlene Eskind Moses of Nashville-based MTR Family Law.
The brief contends that Ben Zobrist “intentionally and voluntarily stopped working” and “essentially went from the top of his game to basically giving up, which caused a massive loss in income.”
Julianna Zobrist is seeking an even split of the marital assets, plus an additional $4 million for the “amount of money he failed to preserve by abruptly and intentionally failing to satisfy his baseball contract.”
Ben Zobrist estimates the total marital estate to be worth $24 million, while Julianna Zobrist values it at just under $31 million.
Ben Zobrist’s attorney, Helen S. Rogers of Nashville-based Rogers, Shea and Spanos, calls the claim and its reasoning “utterly absurd” in a filing to Judge Michael W. Binkley and shifts blame to the extramarital affair Julianna admitted to having with the couple’s former pastor and marriage counselor, Byron Yawn.
Zobrist is suing Yawn for $6 million in a separate case in Davidson County for intentional infliction of emotional distress and defrauding his charity.
“Rather than accepting blame for having torn her husband’s heart out by having an affair with their pastor, she expected him to be able to totally focus in an elite athletic job that required (100%) of his physical and mental energy,” Rogers writes in the memorandum. “It is Mrs. Zobrist, by having the extramarital affair and confessing same to her husband, and not disclosing the true extent of her affair, that caused him such extreme mental distress and difficulty that resulted in an inability to finish his long and very successful career in the way that he had hoped for and planned for.”
Ben Zobrist alleges that Julianna overspent from the marital estate by “at least $691,602.86” and is seeking 60% of the couple’s assets.
Both parties laid out their full battery of accusations in the briefs as well as their proposals for dividing assets and sharing custody of their three young children. Here are just some of the facts and allegations revealed in documents before the weeklong divorce trial is set to begin Aug. 9 in Franklin, Tenn.
- Ben Zobrist’s witness list includes Yawn and his now ex-wife, Robin Yawn; Zobrist’s agent, Scott Pucino; his trainer, Josh Costello; and an “Erin Dillard.” The wife of Zobrist’s longtime friend and former Milwaukee Brewers reliever Tim Dillard is named Erin. It appears some if not the majority of witness testimony will come from depositions.
- Ben Zobrist accuses Julianna of orchestrating a “scheme” to persuade Ben to put their divorce proceedings on hold and return to baseball so his earnings would continue to fill the marital coffers.
- Julianna Zobrist has countersued Ben for inappropriate marital conduct, though it’s not spelled out in the documents available to the Tribune and Ben has denied the allegation.
- Julianna Zobrist alleges that Ben struggles with “mental health issues” that include manic tendencies, depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide and that she helped “manage husband’s behavior” so it wouldn’t adversely affect his baseball career.
- Julianna Zobrist said she continued to “emotionally support” Ben and his “often-rigorous baseball schedule, many of the games lasting late at night, with all three children in tow.”
- Julianna Zobrist seeks primary custody of the children and child support, while Ben advocates for a 50-50 parental plan. “Husband has no real desire to coparent due to his anger towards her,” Julianna says in her filing.
- Ben Zobrist asserts that he propped up Julianna’s ventures as a Christian pop singer, author and speaker, with Julianna Zobrist LLC posting a 2019 net loss of more than $212,000 because of clothing (more than $188,000), travel and other business expenses.
- Julianna Zobrist was awarded $1.72 million in proceeds from the April sale of the couple’s North Hamilton Avenue home in Chicago as well as an additional $772,500 to “purchase a new home as her separate property.”
- Ben Zobrist accuses Julianna and Yawn of “spoliating” — destroying or altering — evidence.
- All of the Zobrists’ and Yawn’s social media posts and communications may be included among the exhibits, and so will their books, including “Double Play,” cowritten by Ben and Julianna; “Pull It Off,” written by Julianna; and Yawn’s “What Every Man Wishes His Father Had Told Him” and “Things That Go Bump in the Church.”
- Ben Zobrist requests a “stay away” order (under Tennessee’s “paramour provision”) prohibiting Yawn from coming in contact or communicating with the children until the youngest is 14: “Wife has made it clear that she intends to continue her involvement with Pastor Yawn in the future, and that the children will eventually know of their mother’s involvement with their former pastor.”
- Ben Zobrist’s filing adds, “The Court will find that Mrs. Zobrist is a spoiled, self-centered person who does not understand the meaning of a dollar.” (Julianna recently said on social media that she won’t resort to the kind of “ugly accusations” Ben has made during divorce proceedings.)
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Source: Chicago Tribune, By Phil Thompson
Estranged Christian Singer Wife of Chicago Cubs Star Ben Zobrist Demands $4m to Compensate Her Because He Ditched $12m Deal After She Had Year-long Affair With Pastor
Ex-Chicago Cubs star Ben Zobrist’s estranged wife Julianna is demanding he pay her $4million as part of their messy divorce settlement because she claims he gave up his career and lost out on his contract after she had an affair with their Tennessee pastor.
Ben and Julianna Zobrist, who each filed for divorce in May 2019 after 14 years of marriage, are scheduled to face court next month in what has become a long-running and public matter.
The 40-year-old MLB star, who has since retired, alleged in a lawsuit filed in May that his wife had a year-long affair with their Nashville pastor Bryon Yawn who, at one point, had given the couple marriage counseling.
Zobrist first filed for separation from Julianna in May 2019 after alleging that she had engaged in ‘inappropriate marital conduct’ while their marriage was already breaking down.
He took leave from the Cubs at the time to deal with his marital issues.
Now, his Christian singer wife is claiming in pretrial court documents, obtained by the Chicago Tribune, that Zobrist was ‘guilty of failing to preserve marital assets’ when he stepped away from the team.
As a result of his leave of absence, Zobrist only played two months of the 2019 season and earned a prorated $4.5million of his $12million contract, according to the court filings.
Julianna accused the 2016 World Series MVP ‘basically giving up’ and losing out on income when he ‘intentionally and voluntarily’ took leave.
She is seeking a 50-50 split of their marital assets and the additional $4million, which she claims is the ‘amount of money he failed to preserve by abruptly and intentionally failing to satisfy his baseball contract’.
Zobrist’s attorney slammed the claim as ‘utterly absurd’ and accused Julianna of trying to shift the blame after she admitted to having the affair with their pastor.
‘Rather than accepting blame for having torn her husband’s heart out by having an affair with their pastor, she expected him to be able to totally focus in an elite athletic job that required (100%) of his physical and mental energy,’ the attorney said in the filing.
‘It is Mrs Zobrist, by having the extramarital affair and confessing same to her husband, and not disclosing the true extent of her affair, that caused him such extreme mental distress and difficulty that resulted in an inability to finish his long and very successful career in the way that he had hoped for and planned for.’
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Source: Daily Mail, By Emily Crane for Dailymail.com